I was recently in Trinidad to participate in a series of workshops on media self-regulation and election coverage. It was a great experience and I believe progress was made in efforts to advance press freedom in the Caribbean and in deepening election reporting. One of the local newspapers, the Trinidad Guardian, sat down with me for a report on my visit. Journalist Reshma Ragoonath did a good job of capturing our conversation and my various presentations over the two-day session. Here’s some of her report:
IPI vice-chair to T&T journalists: Push for more press freedom
International Press Institute (IPI) vice-chair and award-winning Trinidad-born journalist John Yearwood says while this country’s press freedom remains “very much alive,” local journalists must continue to push for more freedom to practice their profession. Yearwood, also chairman of the IPI North America committee and world editor at the Miami Herald, in an interview with the Sunday Guardian on Thursday, said Government’s repeal of criminal defamation was a positive step, but journalists must take charge of their enshrined right to freedom of the press.
“That (repeal) gives you a sense that although the Government does not always listen, it does on some things in helping to advance the cause of press freedom. “But as with everything else, journalists need to continue to push and push for more freedom, and I think that is really, really important. “It is good to see that the Government is involved in helping that, but journalists need not to stop, they need to keep pushing for it,” Yearwood contended.
Yearwood, who is orignally from Point Fortin, but is now based in Miami, was in T&T last week for the Association of Caribbean Mediaworkers (ACM) and T&T Publishers and Broadcasters (TTPBA) media workshop on covering elections, at Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s. He said more was needed to be done to protect journalists who are threatened and subjected to abuse and intimidation. This, he said, is really unfortunate. “The intimidation of some journalists, that needs to stop.” He hastened to add, that for the most part, the conditions journalists operate under in T&T “is much, much better than in many places around the world.” He said the workshop, which featured sessions on understanding the elections process, reporting on election surveys, democracy and journalistic excellence in the Caribbean and media self-regulation, was a good initiative by the ACM and TTPBA.
For the rest of Reshma’s report, go here.